Summary: Belief in the Trinity is FOUNDATIONAL to our faith. The truth of the Trinity is REVEALED by PROGRESSIVE REVELATION in the Bible. We BELIEVE in the truth of the Trinity by FAITH.
Today is “Trinity Sunday”, it is a day when many churches celebrate the Holy Trinity of God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
St Augustine of Hippo (that’s a great name isn’t it?). St Augustine spent nearly thirty years of his life writing a fifteen volume work called “About the Trinity”.
15 volumes – you will be pleased to know my sermon this evening on the truth of the trinity will not be that long, but I hope it will be beneficial to all of us.
About one hundred years before the Reformation, an artist named Andrei Rublev painted a depiction of the Trinity. Rublev’s painting is a depiction of part of Genesis chapter 18. When three angelic beings visit Abraham and Abraham presents them with a feast at a table. The painting shows three angelic figures who appear to be in conversation while seated in an equilateral triangle: one at the head of the table, one at the right and one at the left. Throughout the years, theologians have used this painting to explain or understand something about the nature of the Trinity.
The Bible clearly teaches the truth of the existence of the Trinity and while we may not fully understand the mystery - we believe by faith that what God has revealed to us in His word is truth.
The Trinity - The Triune nature of God is difficult for us to comprehend - It is a mystery.
So Here is the question: If the Trinity is such a big mystery, Why is belief in the Trinity foundational to our faith?
Why can’t we just believe in “God” and leave it at that?
Why do we need to know that God is Three in One?
The simple answer is that without the Trinity, we lose the truth and power of the Gospel.
We know the Bible teaches us that by our nature, we are sinful.
We know we deserve the wrath of Father God to be upon us.
We know Jesus, the Son, came to Earth to take the punishment for our sins upon Himself.
We know Jesus gives (imputes) His righteousness to all who believe in Him as Lord and Saviour.
We know because of what Jesus did at the Cross, reconciliation with Father God is possible.
We know when Jesus ascended into Heaven after His resurrection, the Holy Spirit came and now empowers the disciples of Jesus to live for God’s honour and glory.
We know each person of the Trinity plays His own role in our redemption.
No Trinity, no salvation and no possibility of a restored relationship with God.
So, How can God exists as three distinct persons simultaneously and yet still be One God?
It is the mystery of mysteries.
The word, “Trinity” is not found in the Bible, but the Triune Nature of God is taught and demonstrated.
Listen to Matthew 3:16-17: After His baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on Him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.” (Matthew 3:16-17 NLT)
Here we see the Trinity. Each of the Trinity interacting with each other. God the Father speaks. God the Son is being baptised in the River. The Holy Spirit descends like a dove. All three, Father, Son and Holy Spirit together at the Baptism of Jesus.
All three co-exist and are co-eternal. We may grasp the concept of the Trinity – three persons in one God, each fully God.
We can see and feel the effects of the Trinity operating in our lives each day.
By faith we believe but we can never fully understand.
The Mystery of Mysteries, the mystery of the Trinity is beyond our ability to fully comprehend.
Over the centuries, ministers, preachers and biblical scholars have attempted to understand the Mystery of the Trinity.
People have used various examples and illustrations to try and explain the nature of the Trinity.
Some have said that the Trinity is like water. Three phases of one substance steam, liquid, and ice.
Some use the analogy of a three leaf clover - one leaf three parts.
Some describe the Trinity as the same person with three different titles, for example I am a Husband, a father and a Son.
None of those illustrations or analogies is really an adequate description of The Triune Nature of God.
In the 18th Century the German, Gerhard Tersteegen said this: ‘A God understood, a God comprehended, is no God.’
God is not three beings, God is one.
Father, Son and Holy Spirit, three persons yet one God: all equally divine, all absolutely God, one nature, one reality.
There is a story that St. Augustine of Hippo,St. Augustine was struggling to understand the doctrine of the Trinity. So he decided to go for a walk on the beach, where he saw a little boy digging a hole in the sand with a seashell. The boy then ran off to the ocean, filling the shell, and rushed back to pour it into the hole he had made.